Finding the Best eCommerce Website Builder For Your Business
More and more people are getting comfortable with the idea of shopping online, and it's estimated that there will be over 2 billion digital buyers globally in 2021, with online sales expected to account for over 18% of retail sales. This means that if your business doesn't have an online store, you're missing out on a market that's only going to become more competitive the longer you wait.
While there are many different eCommerce platforms out there designed to help you launch an eCommerce website, there are also many different considerations you need to take into account before deciding which is the best eCommerce website builder for your needs.
Depending on which features you need, if you want to pay a transaction fee or not, or if you have an existing website running on a different platform, sorting among the different eCommerce platforms for a suitable one can get confusing.
To make the job a little easier for you, we've compiled a list of 10 eCommerce website builders and compared their features so that you can decide which is best for you.
Price: 1-month free trial. Plans start at $29.95 per month.
BigCommerce is an eCommerce platform designed to grow with your business. Founded in 2009 by Australians Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper, this eCommerce platform serves over 60,000 merchants in over 150 countries.
Apart from its eCommerce website builder, which requires no coding to create an online store, BigCommerce also includes a number of features such as no additional transaction fees, a multitude of sales channels including Facebook and Instagram, mobile app, real-time shipping quotes, and professional reporting tools on all accounts.
BigCommerce is aimed at larger, enterprise-level businesses and offers many customizations allowing the eCommerce platform to scale with your business.
For smaller businesses, BigCommerce Essentials offers the basic features you'd expect from an eCommerce platform, including one of the best eCommerce website builders with plans starting at $29.95 per month.
BigCommerce Essentials also includes marketing features such as SEO, social media sales channels, and blog, conversion features such as abandoned cart recovery and streamlined checkout, and management features such as inventory management 65 payment gateway integrations that accept payments from payment methods such as PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net, with no transaction fees.
For business owners that are new to using an eCommerce website builder, BigCommerce also offers launch coaches to help you build an online store and start selling quickly and easily from your eCommerce website.
You can also take advantage of their SEO coaches and conversion rate coaches to make it easy for shoppers to find your website and turn your website visitors into buyers.
The enterprise edition of BigCommerce is designed for:
- Headless Commerce
- Offline to Online
It offers the same features as BigCommerce Essentials along with many more options for customization and integration.
These include a visual site builder, theme customization, and checkout customization on the design front, along with mobile optimization and WordPress integration.
For marketing your eCommerce store and drive online sales, coupons & discounts are built-in, along with merchandising and support for digital wallets, allowing you to accept payments from various sources like Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, PayPal One Touch, and more.
To help you better serve your customers, it also offers management features such as customer groups, pricelists, bulk pricing, purchase orders, quote management, and B2B payment, along with fast APIs to sync data from 3rd parties, multi-currency support, and the ability to do cross-border fulfillment.
Deciding if BigCommerce is the best eCommerce website builder for you depends mainly on the scale of your eCommerce website. Is it large, and will you need to scale in the future? Then BigCommerce is the best eCommerce website builder for the job.
Price: Free if you use their payment processing. Plans start at $29 per month.
Shift4Shop is a feature-rich eCommerce platform aimed at businesses of all sizes in a wide range of industries. Founded in 1997, this eCommerce website builder was formerly known as 3dCart.
With over 22,000 merchants using this eCommerce site builder, their turnkey eCommerce experience includes a drag-and-drop builder for your eCommerce store, product and order management, customer marketing tools, and more.
Featuring dozens of professionally designed, industry-specific templates, all of which are mobile-friendly, SEO optimized, and highly customizable, Shift4Shop also includes a number of other industry-leading features such as social media marketing, SEO, and an expansive marketplace ecosystem of third-party developers, experts, and affiliates.
Its full set of features include a simple yet powerful eCommerce website builder, a cart and checkout system with all the essential features, including flexible payment processing, order management tools including support for returns, subscription services, and customer base segmentation, inventory management with purchase orders to simplify reordering, marketing tools such as SEO tools, a built-in blog, social media advertising, and email marketing.
Shift4Shop's payment processing allows end-to-end payments from credit cards, digital wallets, and other popular payment methods, making it easy to start selling online.
If you use Shift4Shop's payment processing to use their free eCommerce website platform, you get a plan that includes unlimited products, staff, and bandwidth, 24/7 customer support, and secure web hosting. These features are also included in the paid plans, which also offer no additional transaction fees and start at $29 per month.
When it comes to eCommerce store builders, Shift4Shop isn't as popular as some of the other options listed here, but what it does offer is a quick way to create an online store, even if its' drag-and-drop builder isn't the greatest.
While it may not be the best eCommerce website builder, it offers a robust feature set and bonuses such as a free domain for a year, and if you opt for the free plan, its features are unmatched.
3. Big Cartel
Price: Free Gold account for 5 items or less. Plans start at $9.99 per month.
Big Cartel is an eCommerce website builder aimed at artists. Founded in 2005, the company has helped people from all over the world sell over $2.5 billion of their work with its online stores. If the number of products you're selling is less than 5, you qualify for their free plan, while paid plans start at $9.99 per month.
All plans include basic features such as customizable themes, real-time statistics, support for custom domains, the ability to offer discounts and run promotions, shipment tracking, product option groups, and a sales tax autopilot.
The paid plans offer more advanced features such as Google Analytics support, inventory tracking, bulk editing, and theme coding. The paid options also don't charge you any listing fees.
Big Cartel is the best eCommerce website builder for hobby sellers or artists selling individual items, but small businesses looking to stock an unlimited number of products or list bulk inventory should consider a different eCommerce website builder as it lacks the advanced features that other eCommerce website builders offer.
Price: Plans start at $17/month.
Founded in 2006, Wix features a simple drag-and-drop eCommerce website builder that makes it easy to create the design of your choice. Serving over 200 million users worldwide, the platform can create any kind of website, not just an eCommerce website.
While their most basic plan starts at $4.50 per month, the Business Basic plan which allows you to accept payments starts at $17 per month.
All of the business plans include secure online payments, support for plans & recurring payments, customer accounts, custom domain support with a free domain for a year, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited products, abandoned cart recovery, free SSL certificate, the ability to sell on social media, and Wix ads removed.
Web hosting is also included, with storage starting at 20GB and reaching 50GB at the Business VIP level. Other features unique to the business VIP level are unlimited streaming of video content, customized reports, and priority customer care, but it will cost you $35 per month.
For more advanced features not available on the Business Basic plan, such as subscriptions, support for multiple currencies, automated sales tax, selling on marketplaces, dropshipping, product reviews, and loyalty programs, you'll also need their Business Unlimited plan or Business VIP plan. The Business Unlimited plan costs $25 per month.
You can also use Wix to create an online booking platform, use it for ticket & event management, take online orders, manage hotel reservations, and monetize your art & content. Thanks to its simple but effective drag-and-drop editor, Wix ranks among the best eCommerce website builders.
Price: 14-day free trial. Plans start at $29 per month.
Founded in 2006, one of the best-known online stores, Shopify is a Canadian eCommerce builder, powering more than 1,700,000 businesses worldwide. Offering both one of the best eCommerce website builders and point of sale, Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that's great for small businesses and large ones.
Although it offers a 14-day free trial, Shopify doesn't offer a free plan. Instead, pricing plans start at $29 per month for Basic Shopify, $79 per month for Shopify, and $299 per month for Advanced Shopify.
All Shopify plans include 24/7 customer support, an online store, various sales channels including marketplaces and social media, the Shopify POS lite, which allows you to accept in-person payments, a free SSL certificate, and shipping label printing.
Basic Shopify doesn't qualify for reports, international pricing, and international domains, while benefiting from advanced reporting and the lowest credit card rates and transaction fees (if you're not using Shopify Payments) requires the Advanced Shopify plan.
Shopify also offers the Shopify Lite plan for $9 per month that allows you to add products to any website or blog and accept credit card payments along with the Shopify Plus plan for enterprise-level online stores.
Shopify's eCommerce website builder includes over 70 mobile-ready themes, a blogging platform, free SSL certificates, abandoned cart recovery, 100 payment gateways, automatic taxes, customer profiles, drop shipping, customer groups, fulfillment centers, SEO tools, gift cards, discounts, social integration, inventory management, unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, analytics, mobile app, and 24/7 customer support.
For additional functionality, you can use Shopify's App Store to add apps to your online start that help with sourcing and selling products, store design, merchandising, marketing, conversion, fulfillment, shipping and delivery, customer service, and store management.
Since Shopify is designed to be an eCommerce website builder, it's no surprise that it ranks among the best eCommerce website builders. While Shopify does offer a lot of features that make it an excellent choice for anyone that wants to start selling online quickly, it can be a little bit pricey for smaller businesses.
Price: 14-day free trial. Plans start at $18 per month.
Founded in 2004, Squarespace is a New York-based website builder and hosting service. Much like Wix, Squarespace is a website builder that can do more than just help you build an eCommerce website. Although plans start at $12 per month, if you intend to use Squarespace to launch an online store, you'll need to upgrade to the Business plan, which costs $18 per month.
The other plans offering online sales are the Basic Commerce and Advanced Commerce plans, which cost $26 per month and $40 per month, respectively but remove the 3% transaction fee the Business plan charges on online sales.
If you need advanced features such as point of sale, customer accounts, checkout on your domain, products on Instagram, and more powerful analytics and merchandising tools, you'll need to upgrade to the Basic Commerce plan.
Finally, for access to abandoned cart recovery, the option to sell subscriptions, advanced shipping and discounts, and a commerce API, you'll need to upgrade to the Advance Commerce plan.
Even though Squarespace offers a vast number of its apps, there is no third-party app store with options to further extend your online store.
Although Squarespace's drag-and-drop website builder is not a simple as that of Wix, it is just as powerful, and creating your online store is simple. When it comes to eCommerce site builders, Squarespace is the best website builder for creating an online store with a great design.
Price: Plans start at $12 per month.
Founded in 2006, Weebly is a website builder that's a subsidiary of Square, with Square Online also powering its' eCommerce offering. With plans that allow you to create an eCommerce website starting at $12 per month, Weebly is great for small businesses or individuals looking for a simple, no-frills eCommerce website builder.
Weebly offers a collection of themes and a drag-and-drop website builder to create and customize your online store, SEO tools, a mobile app, shipping tool, inventory tracking, coupons & gift cards, customer reviews, a fully integrated shopping cart, and an automatic tax calculator.
For advanced features such as abandoned cart recovery emails, email marketing, real-time shipping, and the best shipping discounts, you will need to upgrade to their Business Plus plan, which starts at $38 per month.
Great for those not too technically minded, Weebly is a basic eCommerce site builder that does the job of getting your online store up and running without a ton of maintenance. If your business already uses Square for payments, then you should check out Square online, which is similar to Weebly.
Price: Plans start at $0 per month
Founded in 2009, Square is a San Fransisco-based financial services and digital payments company that offers both physical Square POS devices for in-person sales as well as an eCommerce site builder allowing you to launch an online store known as Square Online.
Square POS devices include the Square Terminal, Square Reader for contactless, chip, and magstripe, Square Register, and Square Stand. The benefit of a Square POS for small businesses is that it is a flexible payment processor that can accept any kind of payment. The payment processor supports in-person payments, online payments, remote payments, and manually entered payments.
Plans & Features
Square Online's free plan includes selling unlimited products, automatic inventory, order, & item sync with Square POS, the ability to offer pickup, delivery, or shipping, and Instagram Integration. The only cost is the transaction fees you'll need to pay which are 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction.
To publish to a custom domain, remove the Square Online branding and ads, and get a free domain for a year, you'll need to upgrade to a Professional plan, which starts at $12 per month.
To post customer reviews, fulfill orders and save with discounted shipping labels, and recover lost sales with abandoned cart emails, you'll need the Square Online Performance plan, which starts at $26 per month.
Finally, to save on transaction fees, get the highest shipping discounts, and a real-time shipping calculator, you'll need the Square Online Premium plan, which starts at $72 per month.
You can also extend the features using Square's app store which includes apps to assist with accounting & tax, invoicing & services, booking & scheduling, items & inventory, delivery & orders, loyalty & rewards, eCommerce, marketing & analytics, field services, points of sale, form builders, restaurants, healthcare, team management, insurance, and ticketing & events.
With its free plan, Square Online makes a compelling offer, while the paid eCommerce features are priced fairly, making this eCommerce website builder a great choice for those already using the company's payment services. Because of this integration, Square Online offers fewer payment gateways than some of the other eCommerce builders listed in this article.
Square Online also offers less customization than eCommerce builders such as Shopify meaning it can be tough getting your online store looking the way you had imagined it. But if your business is already using Square for payments, you should consider their site builder to launch your online store.
Released in 2011, WooCommerce is a free, open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress. This means to get the most out of it, you'll likely need the assistance of a developer that's versed in WordPress, although adding WooCommerce to a WordPress site only takes a few minutes.
WooCommerce offers support for a variety of payment options including credits cards, bank transfer, and cash on delivery, as well as 140 region-specific payment gateways.
Since it is built on WordPress, WooCommerce's dashboard is familiar to anyone that's used WordPress, and it comes bundled with features such as automated tax calculations, live shipping rates from leading carriers, options to print labels at home, and a mobile app.
There are also hundreds of free and paid extensions that add features and functionality to your store, the ability to sell anything, integrate with third-party marketplaces, email marketing, rewards and incentives such as coupons, SEO tools, and the ability to print shipping labels and save on shipping.
If you already have an existing website running on WordPress or are familiar with its ecosystem, WooCommerce should be at the top of your list of eCommerce website builders, especially since its free price can't be beaten.
But if you don't have any experience registering your own domain, finding hosting, and setting up a WordPress site, you might want to consider some of the other eCommerce website builders listed here to launch your online store.
Price: Plans start at $29 per month.
The Texas-based eCommerce site builder Volusion was founded in 1999. Aimed at small businesses, it has helped over 180,000 entrepreneurs start online stores. Featuring a simple drag-and-drop store builder and no transaction fees on all plans, Volusion has facilitated $28 billion in transactions through its stores.
Limited to a gross merchandise volume (GMV) per year of $50,000, the Personal plan, which at $29 per month, includes secure checkout, responsive themes, SEO tools, the management of inventory, and social integrations.
For more advanced features such as abandoned cart reviews, newsletters, and reviews, you'll need to upgrade to the Professional plan starting at $79 per month. For the full feature set, including Amazon & eBay Integrations, API Access, Batch Order Processing, and 3rd Party Gateways, you'll need the Business plan which starts at $299 per month.
Compared to Shopify the features included at the various price points are not on par, lacking basics such as abandoned cart recovery and marketplace integrations, meaning it's one of the more expensive eCommerce builders out there. The fact that they don't charge you a transaction fee no matter your plan, unlike Shopify, is a nice feature, however.
With pricing that's the same as Shopify, it's hard not to compare the two. Unfortunately, this means that Volusion is up against one of the best eCommerce website builders out there and can't compete. It does offer a great deal of data about your online store, but overall, Shopify makes more sense for the money.
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From the above, you can see that depending on what your needs for your online business are, what will be the best eCommerce online store builder for you will change. If your online store needs to scale to an enterprise-level, BigCommerce is the best eCommerce site builder for your needs. For online stores looking to save on monthly subscriptions, Shift4Shop is a solid choice.
Hobby sellers and artists that deal in individual items are likely to find Big Cartel as the best eCommerce site builder for their needs. In contrast, the Wix eCommerce builder is perfect for someone looking for a simple, drag-and-drop eCommerce store builder for their business.
Since it's designed to be an eCommerce builder, Shopify ranks among the best eCommerce platforms with extensive features that put it ahead of its competitors. Among eCommerce site builders that help you create a well-designed website, Squarespace is the best, although not as easy to use as the Wix eCommerce builder.
For a straightforward eCommerce builder, Weebly is a great choice, while businesses that are already using Square for their payments should consider using Square online. If you already have a WordPress website for your business, then WooCommerce is the best way to add an online store to your existing website.
Finally, if you want to save on transaction fees and a data-rich online store, you can consider Volusion, although you can get a Shopify account with more features for the same price.
What are your thoughts on the above? Did I miss any eCommerce site builders? Which do you use for your website? Let me know in the comments below.